• Former Lake Norman High School teacher charged with statutory rape

    By: Ken Lemon

    Updated:

    GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A former Lake Norman High School teacher is accused of having an improper relationship with a local teenager in Gastonia.

    Sources told Channel 9 the accuser is the same teen whose text messages led to prison time for former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.

    Police have not provided any details on how Jonathan Busch, 54, allegedly made contact with the girl who is now 18.

    Busch was arrested and charged with statutory rape of a child under 15 and indecent liberties with a child. He was booked into jail in Gaston County Thursday, but records show he bonded out later the same day.

    Iredell-Statesville School officials confirmed Busch, a social studies teacher, resigned this week. He was hired by the school system on July 31, 2003.

    Busch will face a judge on Monday, and experts told Channel 9 that Weiner, who is serving a 21-month prison sentence, could become a focus in the case.

    The girl was 15 years old when we learned that Weiner was exchanging lewd photos with her.

    That revelation in 2016 was a huge hit to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, whose top aide was Weiner's wife.

    Arrest warrants said as that scandal was capturing headlines, Busch, then a 52-year-old Lake Norman High School teacher, was having sex with the same teenager.

    Former Gaston County prosecutor Michael Neece is now a defense attorney who said any connections between the two cases can't be ignored.

    "A defense lawyer is certainly going to be looking into that situation,” Neece said.

    Investigators haven't spelled out their case against Busch, but Neece said attorneys will likely have conversations with the judge about how evidence in Weiner's case should be viewed in Busch's case.

    "Sometimes it can become a trial within a trial,” Neece said.

    Child advocacy experts tell us it's not uncommon for a young abuse victim to end up back in the same or similar situation.

    Erin Weatherford-Farmer, executive director for the Alliance for Children, said healing after going through the judicial process twice is hard.

    "They are so vulnerable at that point,” she said. "It’s a lot of sadness. There is so much trust that has been broken."

    The process is tough on families.

    The girl's grandfather didn’t have a comment other than saying the arrest was heartbreaking.

    Lake Norman High School officials sent this statement to parents:

    Dear Lake Norman High School Parents:

    "This letter is to inform you of an incident that we recently became aware of that affects our school.  I want to ensure you are given accurate information and dispel any potential rumors."

    "I was notified that one of our teachers, Mr. Jonathan Busch, has been charged with four counts of sexual offenses in Gaston County.  Mr. Busch has cooperated with the authorities, however, due to the nature of these allegations, he has tendered his resignation as a teacher in Iredell-Statesville Schools."  

    "Though the charges against Mr. Busch are extremely serious, I can assure you that the alleged incidents did not occur on the campus of Lake Norman High School nor involved any current or former Lake Norman High School students."

    "Again, I wanted to ensure you received this information from Lake Norman High School and that you are aware of actions related to this incident.  While I am unable to answer any more specific questions about the charges against Mr. Busch due to NC state personnel laws, I am happy to address any other questions or concerns you may have."

    "Thank you for your support of Lake Norman High School."
     

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